Don't you hate having to say that? You crack a joke and can tell immediately that folks to whom you're talking aren't sure if you're serious or not, and then you have to decide, is it okay if they don't know, or should I let them know because they're my co-workers/supervisors/employees/in-laws, and it could cause unwarranted concern or criticism and possibly be reflected on my annual review/examination? So you say, "Just kidding," and you're really bummed out because the joke lost 75% of its beauty by having to be qualified.
What's even more annoying, however -- and this happens at work frequently -- is people being afraid to laugh at a joke because, well, we're in a meeting and people shouldn't say jokes in a meeting. Come on, that's when the best jokes are told -- when they're not supposed to be told! If I may take a moment to indulge in unbridled self-admiration, I'm quite brilliant at dropping jokes when they're least expected. And by jokes, I don't mean set-up punchline jokes. I mean dry wit delivered as if I'm serious.
Just today I was in a management session about interviewing legalities, and the presenter made a comment something to the effect of, "If someone is interviewing for a position at our agency and you happen to know that s/he beat the crap out of a former co-worker, it is perfectly legal for you to bring that to HR's attention." I raised my hand and asked, "What if you know for a fact that the person who was beat up deserved it?" Straight-faced as can be, because I'm that good, but come on, who thinks that's a serious question? Everyone in the room, apparently, because it was quiet. "Just kidding," I said. Dammit! Come on, people! Embrace the funny! Don't make me qualify my jokes!
Truth is, I usually don't. I love it when people don't know if I'm serious or not. Keeps them guessing and me in a position of power. But sometimes I gotta think about the bigger picture, and aw hell, I gotta attach the "just kidding."
On a completely unrelated note, it's quite the blustery day here in Denver. The wind is blowing so hard, children are rolling like tumbleweeds across the street.